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Cost of living: Extra support for households in crisis

Households that are struggling with the current cost of living crisis may be eligible for extra support from Ealing Council, even if they haven’t previously been able to access financial help from the government.

The Household Support Fund (which uses funding from the Department for Work and Pensions) provides financial assistance to a wide range of low-income households in need, including families with children of all ages, pensioners, carers, care leavers and disabled people. It can be spent to support you with energy and water costs, food and other essential items.

‘Soften the blow’

Councillor Steve Donnelly, the council’s cabinet member for inclusive economy, said: “In the current cost of living crisis, it is so easy to find yourself struggling. At the council, we are doing as much as we can to soften the blow.

“Please make sure that you apply for everything you are eligible for, because there is a range of support available from the council – including food vouchers during school holidays, specific support for young people leaving care, help for those receiving care in their homes or assistance with energy bills, the weekly food shop, rent or other essential items.”

Who’s eligible?

The council has identified several groups of people who qualify to receive funds through the Household Support Fund. These payments will be made automatically to these individual households:

  • Families with children eligible for free school meals where eligibility is based on low income – £205 per child.
  • Families with children under the age of five currently in receipt of housing benefit and/or council tax reduction – £205 per household
  • Care leavers – £300 per person
  • Residents in receipt of housing benefit/council tax reduction but not in receipt of DWP benefits or tax credits, thus losing out on cost-of-living payments – £350 per household
  • People receiving care at home where the council is contributing to their care because they are on a low income and/or having a high cost of care – £200 per household.

If you are eligible for free school meals or have a child under the age of 5 and are currently in receipt of housing benefit and/or council tax reduction, you should make sure that you receive everything you are entitled to by applying to receive free school meals now or when your child starts school.

You may also be eligible to apply for Local Welfare Assistance. This money can be used to help pay for energy, food, rent, or other essential items and when applying information and advice about other benefits or help with debt management will also be available.

Energy vouchers

For residents who have prepayment meters, energy vouchers for £66 or £67 were sent out between October 2022 and March 2023 under the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme.

Each voucher needs to be cashed within three months of issue but many have not yet been redeemed.

If you have a prepayment meter, check that you have claimed all your vouchers, and if you haven’t, contact your supplier to have them re-issued before the end of June.

If you are concerned about finances and unsure what help might be available, seeking employment, have a family and looking for low cost or free activities to do, or are an older person and just want to know if you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to – check out the information on the council’s website.

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